I’ve been wanting to do this photo for a while … I’ve been thinking about it for over a year. Thinking about what it would look like, mulling over the details. But the truth of it is that my office/photo studio is a giant mess. Taking photos in my studio means I have to move boxes and furniture and basically I’ve been procrastinating.
Gerry went on a motorcycle trip this weekend and I thought “fuck it – let’s do this” so I spent most of the day Friday cleaning up and then was able to reach all my camera equipment and set up the studio on Saturday.
It’s been a long long while since I shot anything in my studio. Last photo I shot in my studio was this hairless one. I just checked the date and it was almost exactly 2 years ago to the day. Funny how inspiration works …
When I took this photo I was in the middle of my chemo and was at my lowest in terms of energy, self esteem and life force. I felt like a ghost. Like I didn’t exist. I would look in the mirror and see nothing of my former self. I wanted to shoot myself this day because I needed to feel real.
There is something about looking at photos of yourself rather then looking in the mirror. When I looked at the photo I was able to see my power. I wasn’t a ghost. I was amazing.
Flash forward to 2 years later and I decided to do another photoshoot – only this time the photo is not just for me. I wanted to shoot a photo that would be empowering and inspiring for someone who was feeling low – like I was 2 years ago – could look at use to propel themselves forward on their cancer journey.
I shot the new photo. Edited it and at 10:30pm I threw it up on FB, Insta and Twitter and went to bed … I woke up the next day to a flurry of messages, retweets, reposts and likes. The messages and comments were really wonderful. I bathed myself in all the love …
So many beautiful messages like this one:
My only regret with this photo is that I forgot to put my name on the image … ha ha. I wasn’t thinking. As of today this image has been shared over 750x on FB. It’s all over Twitter, Insta and Pinterest. It’s pretty damn cool. Thank you for sharing.
If you notice that someone has posted it and doesn’t mention my name … please add my name to it or point them in the direction of this website. Not because I want the notoriety (I have enough of that – ha ha) but because I want to connect with as many of you as possible.
I’ve been thinking about doing a whole series of photos like this … who else do you think I should dress up as?? I’ve been making a list but help me add to it!! — Love you guys.
I donated some recipes to the Hearts on Noses Pig Sanctuary cookbook!!
Funds from the book go to the sanctuary. Grab a copy and help a piggy!!
I tried to download the script from the internet but my fingers wouldn’t work. Tried to watch YouTube but everything sounded like gibberish. So I got into costume, walked out onstage and looked out into the audience hoping that the words would come to me.
Instead I fell to the ground and pretended to have a seizure. Curtain closed and I woke up. #theshowmustgoon #stressdream #breathefeellove
I have had the best couple of weeks … with the Y pool being closed I decided to go on a tattoo holiday and get tattooed by everyone at the shop. Yes. EVERYONE!!
I started with Gerry. He tattooed my knuckles.
Next was Dave Maier. Dave is a new addition to Tattoo Zoo. He started out as a guest-spot and after his first day I said to Gerry “That guy should work here…“. Well it took a few years for him to finally decide to move from Edmonton to Victoria but he’s making the transition here and we couldn’t be happier. He’s a great addition to the shop.
I chose this design off the wall. I can’t remember who drew it but I’ve always admired it and thought he would be the perfect person to tattoo it. Dave is left handed so it was wild watching him tattoo me. Kind of unnerving for some reason. Ha ha. I love it!!
The next day I got tattooed by Mason Larose. Mason has been with us for a few years now and I haven’t had a chance to be tattooed by him because of all my cancer treatment. We were going to tattoo one of his drawings but then I saw this snake on the wall (drawn by Ezra Haidet) and showed it to Mason and he was stoked to do it … so we put it on my leg. Right beside the tattoo that Dave had done the day before. I thought it was going to be painful but it actually wasn’t that bad …
I was in the grocery story a few days later and a woman shrieked and pointed at my leg. “SNAKE! I HATE SNAKES” I patted her on the shoulder and said “It’s not real. It’s a tattoo.” ha ha.
A day later it was time to get tattooed by Caroline Paquet. Caroline has been with us for many years and I love love love her style. I was going to get her to tattoo one of her drawings but she saw me compiling ideas to get tattooed and saw this little mouse drawing that is from a 1990’s Cherry Creek Flash page (If you’re an older tattooer – you know the one I mean) and BAM!! She tattooed the hell out of it. I think it’s the cutest tattoo I have. Love it!
I took a few days off before I got tattooed again. I was feeling pretty beat … Getting tattooed requires a lot of energy (to get through the tattoo) but also the healing process. So I had a nice quiet weekend. Just lay around and healed.
Before I knew it – it was time to get tattooed by Nicole Nowicki. Nicole has only been with us a few months and is such a wonderful addition to our shop. I chose one her drawings from her “wanna-do” book. Wanna-Do books are full of drawings that our artist “wanna do“.
It was fun getting tattooed by her … and the tattoo took about 15 minutes. I love quick tattoos!
Next day was Tami’s turn to tattoo me. Tami has been at TZ for about a year and I love her delicate line work. I knew she’d be perfect for this idea… and she nailed it! I love it!!
Next thing I knew it was my birthday weekend… WHAT? Time is flying. How on earth am I 47 years old?? Crazy.
I had a great visit with them. We went out for a nice dinner at BeLove for my birthday and then hung out at the house eating ice-cream and gossiping about tattooing and other tattooers. A regular hen-party only I was the only hen. I think we stayed up til 2am gabbing. It was a fantastic way to spend my birthday.
I am so lucky to have such good friends. They just “get me”.
Before they left it was time for Chris Hold to tattoo me. I’ve known Chris for many many years and he is one of my favourite people. He was Gerry’s apprentice and then graduated from The School of Gerry and moved back to Vancouver. He’s such a talent … I love getting tattooed by him. He tattooed a mummy on me that I chose off the wall (drawn by Dan Higgs). I love it SO MUCH!!
Unfortunately I ran out of time and wasn’t able to get tattooed by Eckel but he comes back once a month to do a guest spot at TZ so…
It was SO MUCH FUN to get tattooed by everyone in the shop. I am a lucky lady to be surrounded by so much talent. Most importantly it was really great to spend a little bit of one-on-one time with each member of my tattoo family.
Best. Holiday. Ever.
This port was installed under my skin below my clavicle and administered chemo as well as fluids, medication and was also used to draw blood. It saved my veins from collapsing and having it installed was one of the best decisions I made.
I pushed my doctor and insisted on having it for my treatment. The weight of it is shocking. I carried it around for almost a year… So grateful for my port and shedding a happy tear that this part of my life is behind me.
I’m going to have 2x giant tables of merchandise at the Beggars Banquet in Market Square on June 26th full of cool stuff to buy!!
Not only am I selling items from my store Sarah’s Place but I’m also liquidating a large portion of my vintage collection!! More info about the event HERE.
Hope to see you all there!
So … the Y closed the pool for 3 weeks for cleaning and I thought about going to other pools in town to do Aquafit but then I realized that I had a perfect window of opportunity to get some tattoo work done.
I haven’t had any serious tattoos done since my cancer diagnosis over 2 years ago. I’ve had a few tiny ones here and there but nothing major. So yesterday I sat down with my #1 favourite tattoo artist/husband Gerry and he did some work on my knuckles.
I’ve wanted to get my knuckles tattooed since I was a kid. I remember being downtown with my Dad and a motorcycle rode by with a big biker (and his lady on the back). She was wearing a tank-top and had tattoos all over her arms. If I think back to the time (it must have been the late 70’s) she probably only had 2 or 3 tattoos. The guy riding the bike had a motorcycle jacket on and his hand tattooed. I wanted so badly to be part of their tribe.
I remember telling my Dad that I liked their tattoos and he jokingly said “If you ever get a tattoo – I will kill you.”
Well that planted a seed of rebellion didn’t it? Ha ha. As soon as I turned 18 I ran down to my local tattoo studio and got a peace sign about the size of a quarter tattooed on my left breast and that started my journey of collecting tattoos.
Gerry calls these kinds of tattoos (hands/face/neck) job stoppers and I’ve hesitated for a long time about getting my knuckles tattooed. But if this cancer experience has taught me anything … it’s taught me to be fearless.
I mean. I still have fear. I feel it creeping around me every day … but I choose to use the fear to propel me forward towards the things I want.
Everyone always asks me if I have any vegan themed tattoos. Well as of yesterday… I do. I am vegan because I love animals – and I spend my days making conscious choices to harm-less. Tread lightly. Do no harm and all that jazz.
My plan for the next week is to get tattooed by everyone who works at Tattoo Zoo. I’m so excited. Stay tuned.
It’s been a minute (or two) since I wrote a book so when I get an e-mail like this … it makes me feel pretty cool. Thank you Robyn.
Hi Sarah,I found your book “La Dolce Vegan” a week ago in one of my favourite bookstores. I have a slight obsession with vegan cookbooks, so I decided to add it to my collection!Usually I never send fanmail, but I started reading through the introduction of this book, and just loved how much your vibrant personality shone through. Not only is the book full of recipes that look easy and delicious, but there are also some awesome tips about how to clean your home in a more environmentally-friendly way. I love how unique this book is!I visited your blog a few days later, and was shocked to learn about your battle with breast cancer. I found myself mesmerized, and read through about two years worth of entries. It is so horrible to learn about everything that you’ve been through, but you approach it all with such optimism and courage. I find it so great that you don’t sugar-coat what you’re going through, but you also are not letting it bring you down. Taking it one step at a time is such a great approach.In any case, I just wanted to let you know that your story has made a huge impact on me, and I’m inspired by your optimism and willingness to embrace life. Your sense of compassion, and the amount of hard work and dedication you have put into everything you do, shine through in your blog and in your books. I went out and got “How it all Vegan” this past weekend, and am loving it. I made the smoothie with tahini for breakfast this morning, and it was delicious.I wish you all the best,Robyn